The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) announced the recipients of the School of Engineering (SENG) Research Excellence Awards 2012. The recipients are outstanding scholars who have made significant discoveries at the forefront of engineering research.
The annual SENG Research Excellence Awards were launched in 2011 to recognize the impact and contributions of the School's faculty members. The awards are classified into three types to encompass faculty members who are in different stages of their academic life. The School currently has about 160 faculty members across its six departments.
The Distinguished Research Excellence Award honors a distinguished faculty member with exceptional research achievements and significant impact at the local and global scenes. It is the most prestigious award among the three. The Research Excellence Award recognizes the efforts of an outstanding faculty member with a proven record of research excellence. The Young Investigator Research Award recognizes the achievements of a promising and rising faculty member.
This year's award recipients are:
Distinguished Research Excellence Award
Prof Tongyi Zhang,
Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Since joining HKUST in 1993, Prof Zhang has conducted excellent academic research in the interdisciplinary area between materials science and solid mechanics and his work has demonstrated substantial impact to the academic field. He has received numerous international awards. Recently, he was elected to be a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Membership in CAS is the highest academic title conferred by the Chinese government for achievements in science and technology research. At HKUST, he has made significant contributions to piezoelectric fracture, micro/nanomechanics, mechanical characterization of thin films, diffusion and permeation, among other areas.
Research Excellence Awards
Prof Vladimir Chigrinov,
Professor of Electronic and Computer Engineering
An expert in displays and photonics, Prof Chigrinov has pioneered liquid crystal photoaligning technology for the liquid crystal displays (LCD) technology. His co-authored paper entitled "Surface-induced parallel alignment of liquid crystals by linearly polymerized photopolymers" on Japanese Journal of Applied Physics (JJAP) in 1992 is the 4th most heavily-cited and have been an influential paper published in JJAP since the first volume in 1962. Photoaligning technology was announced by a major consumer electronics company as the technology which the new generation of LCD-TV will be completely based on.
Prof Hai Yang,
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
A leading scholar with both publications and citations amongst the top in the field of transportation. Internationally renowned for his contribution in the areas of analysis, modeling and optimization of transportation systems. Awarded the second-class State Natural Science Award 2011 bestowed by the State Council of the People's Republic of China. Appointed recently as the third Editor-in-Chief of Transportation Research Part B, a leading journal in the field of transportation, since its inception in 1967.
Young Investigator Research Award
Prof Ke Yi,
Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
Prof Yi's research focus is massive data algorithms, namely, algorithms that deal with data sets that do not fit in the main memory of a single computer. He studied algorithms in the external memory model (or the I/O model) where he has made theoretical and practical contributions to fundamental problems like B-trees, hashing, R-trees and similarity search. He also studied algorithms in distributed systems like MapReduce, Hadoop, and sensor networks, and have solved some important problems of interests to both academia and industry.
In addition, the Engineering Research Award Selection Committee has decided to present Prof Gordon McKay, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, with an Honorable Mention for the Distinguished Research Excellence Award in recognition of his outstanding research achievement.
HKUST Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies Prof Joseph H W Lee, who chaired the Engineering Research Award Selection Committee, said: "We have received many outstanding nominations this year which demonstrate an excellent record of research achievements. The committee has conducted a rigorous review to select the final awardees. We are delighted to see the exceedingly strong international recognition of many nominees and their determination to drive world-class research for the benefit of mankind."
HKUST Dean of Engineering Prof Khaled Ben Letaief said, "The School of Engineering is proud of its faculty's research achievements. As a top-notch engineering school, we strive to make even greater impact on the world with our leading-edge research and first-class education. We believe the awards will further enhance our research competitiveness and develop ourselves as a global center of excellence."
Selection criteria included research output, originality and innovativeness; impact of research outputs on society, industry and the relevant engineering disciplines; research training provided to students; and their leadership role in collaboration with national and international research partners.
About HKUST School of Engineering
The HKUST School of Engineering is globally renowned for its research excellence and consistently ranks high among major engineering schools in the world. In 2011, the prominence of the School has seen HKUST ranked No. 1 in Greater China in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in Engineering and Technology. The School proactively takes a multidisciplinary and theme-based approach in research to find innovative solutions to tackle global challenges.